PORTLAND, Maine — Strong pitching, timely hitting, and back-to-back home runs by Aaron Judge and Greg Bird were the winning formula for the Trenton Thunder on Sunday in an 8-2 Eastern League victory over the Portland Sea Dogs at Hadlock Field.
The four-game series ended in a split.
After taking a 1-0 lead on a sacrifice fly Taylor Dugas in the second inning, Trenton was able to extend its lead in the third on a two-out infield single by Greg Bird that scored two runs thanks to some aggressive baserunning by Aaron Judge, who scored from second on a ball hit to the edge of the outfield grass between first and second base.
Portland’s Justin Haley (0-3) wouldn’t make it out of the fifth inning. After walking Mason Williams to lead off the frame, Judge hit a two-run homer off the Dunkin Donuts video board at Hadlock to extend the Trenton lead to 5-0. Judge was celebrating his 23rd birthday.
Greg Bird immediately followed up with a solo shot to center to make it 6-0. Haley allowed six runs (all earned) on eight hits, walking four and striking out one.
Portland mounted a rally in the sixth when Keury De La Cruz, who was playing his first game since April 18, delivered a two-run double off Miguel Sulbaran (2-0) to cut the Trenton lead to 6-2. Johnny Barbato then entered the game and was able to get out of the inning, leaving two Sea Dogs stranded.
Sulbaran went 5 ⅓ innings, allowing two earned runs on four hits while walking four and striking out four.
Gary Sanchez padded the Trenton lead in the top of the ninth with a two-run double. The Thunder catcher finished with two doubles, a single, two RBIs, and a walk.